I would simply like to quote one of my favorite astronauts, Story Musgrave (pictured), in a live TV interview with Ted Koppel on December 7th, 1993, from Space Shuttle Endeavour, during the first Hubble repair mission. I thought his rationale for humans going into space was the most true and honest thing I've ever heard anyone connected with NASA say.
KOPPEL:As we look at what you're doing up there, there are still people down here on Earth who are saying why, why go to the trouble, why go to the expense, why endanger lives to do what you're doing?
MUSGRAVE: We have no choice, sir. It's the nature of humanity. It's the nature of life. The globe was created and life evolved, and you look at every single cubic millimeter on this Earth. You can go 30,000 feet down below the Earth's surface, you can go 40,000 feet up in the air and life is there. When you look at the globe down there, you see teeming life everywhere. It's the power of life. And maybe I'm not just a human up here, you know. Now life is leaping off the planet. It's heading or other parts of the solar system, other parts in the universe. There are those kinds of pressures. It isn't simply politics, it isn't simply technology, it is really not just the essence of humanity, but it's sort of also -- you could look at it as maybe the essence of life. I think Teilhard de Chardin, in Phenomenon of Man, I believe he put that incredibly well. So those kind of forces are at work. It is the nature of humans to be exploratory and to push on. Yes, it costs resources and it does cost a lot, and there is a risk, there is a penalty, there is a down side, but exploration and pioneering, I think those are the critical things, it's the essence of what human beings are, and that is to try to understand their universe and to try to participate in the entire universe and not just their little neighborhood.
KOPPEL:Story Musgrave, I think NASA knew what they were doing when they allowed you to give us 15 minutes of your valuable time up there. Please extend our very best to your colleagues, and good luck on the rest of your mission. Thank you so much.
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